AD – This post is in paid partnership with James Wellbeloved but all thoughts are my own

With the biggest dog show just around the corner, the Crufts competitors will be training harder than ever in the hope that their perfect pooch will take that first prize in Best in Show. And the attention on the best practices for training and taking care of your furry best friend will be even higher than usual. Crufts offers viewers and dog owners a ton of helpful advice on training, nutrition and health of your pet.

If you know me at all, you’ll know that I have a dog and that he’s the best dog in the world (but let’s be honest, every dog is the best dog in the world). His puppy training days are long gone, now that he’s 8 years old but he still acts like a mischievous, naughty puppy, the majority of the time.

If I’m being absolutely transparent, we weren’t really prepared for a dog at the time that we got him. It was a very spur of the moment decision for me and my family. Of course we wouldn’t be without him and he’s an absolute light in all of our lives – constantly making us laugh, smile and… tear our hair out occasionally.

His training was pretty limited.

We took him to puppy classes that our vet put on once a week. That was less of a training class and more of a chance for puppies to meet each other and socialise. In fact, thinking about it now, I’m pretty sure they were called “puppy parties“, so you can imagine how much training got done at those.

We also took him to proper training classes, in a hall with around ten other dogs. Ten other much more well behaved dogs. Look, I’m just going to say it… he was an absolute embarrassment in that class. He was very hard to train. Toilet training? Fine. He got that DOWN when he was super young. But anything that involved actually having to do what he was told?

Forget it.

Rory (oh, his name is Rory, I forgot to mention!) just loves doing his own thing. He’s his own man. An independent lone ranger. I love him to death exactly how he is but if I could go back to when he was a puppy, I’d definitely do a few things differently.

Stick with it for longer

This is the main one and probably the biggest one. Training a puppy is not a 5 minute job – no matter what breed you have or how well behaved they are. We didn’t stick with it for long enough. It’s as simple as that. I think we just kinda accepted the fact that he was a naughty dog and that was “just him”. But all dogs can be trained to behave.

Educate myself on nutrition earlier and more effectively

This is a big one for us and Rory because he’s had a few health problems in his life which have certainly affected and been affected by what he eats. As recently as this January actually when he was violently ill one day and we had to cut out a lot of the stuff he usually eats. Gosh, is there anything worse than seeing your dog ill?

But of course nutrition is a massive element of a puppy’s life and training – which continues throughout their entire life. So getting educated on dog nutrition early on is never going to hurt. Sometimes, the bog standard stuff on the supermarket shelves just isn’t going to cut it. And it’s so important to understand the health benefits of the different food you’re feeding your dog in his or hers young life.

I basically had no knowledge of the different healthier types of dog food available, such as grain free dog food – I left it all up to my Mum. She’s had a few dogs in her life so of course she’d know, right? That’s what I thought until she tried giving him a Christmas dinner when he was one year old.

We all know that a healthy diet and exercise is crucial for our dog’s well-being so if I was to ever do this dog thing again, I’d definitely take more time to educate myself on nutrition. Before we move on to the next point, Rory was lucky to try some samples of the healthy James Wellbeloved Grain Free Turkey with Vegetables pet food.

Did I mention this? But Rory LOVES food. He loves dog food. He loves human food. He loves things that aren’t food. He just loves eating. As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, we do have to keep his diet quite strict in terms of his morning and evening meals because he needs special food to keep certain health conditions under control.

But we do switch it up sometimes so I was excited to try him of the James Wellbeloved Grain Free Turkey with Vegetable pouches. He has pouches of this sort of size anyway so the amount of food in them was perfect. HOWEVER… guess what he DOESN’T eat?


Except with these pouches! He absolutely devoured the whole thing – including the vegetables. Which honestly, I’m a little surprised about because he proper turns his nose up at vegetables usually! The James Wellbeloved pouches contain no soya, wheat, dairy or eggs and provide your pooch with heart and joint support, immune system support, natural omega 3 and natural fats. Yay!

Train him to walk off the lead

One of the saddest things for me is the fact that my dog was so poorly trained as a puppy that he’s never been able to have a public walk off his lead. Of course you have to be smart as to where and when you let your dog off a lead but for us, we don’t even have a choice. If he saw a squirrel, another dog or a crisp packet… he’d be off. And we’d be unlikely to see him again.

Prepare myself better beforehand

And finally, before the dog even entered our life, I’d have definitely liked to have been more prepared. As I said, getting Rory was a very spur of the moment decision for us. He was being looked after by a friend of a friend because his previous owners couldn’t keep him. They didn’t want any money for him, just a loving home. Visit Dog Blog to learn more about the health benefits of owning a dog.

Which is what we gave him. Oh boy have we given him a loving home.

But we were ill-prepared for a dog. The day we brought him home, we had nothing for him! My Mum had to shoot round to the shops to buy everything he needed.

So yes, it’s safe to say, if I did this dog thing again in the future, which I hope I do, I’d definitely go about it VERY differently.

I’d love to hear the stories of your puppies! Did you take them to training classes? Do you wish you’d taken them to more? Any funny puppy stories to share?


  1. I have a Jack Russell Terrier and I relate to everything pretty much you said. I could never let him off the lead, I’d never see him again. That’s something I always wish I trained him with. Jack Russells are hard to train cause they really do their own thing I find.

  2. Oh bless him, Rory is SO cute that his cheeky personality is definitely something you can forgive him for! That’s amazing that he’s actually managed to eat vegetables with the James Wellbeloved pouches, they must be extremely tasty in that case! This post has actually given me a lot to think about for when I (FINALLY) get my first dog! I already know I’m going to have to use all my willpower to train it haha!

  3. I have my sister to blame for our pup. ‘Blame’ is probably the wrong word, but she got impatient waiting for her name to reach the top of the Hearing Dog list (two years and counting) and decided she wanted a puppy there and then. Within two days we had a 7-8 week old springer spaniel and now he’s 6/7 months old we can’t imagine life without him.

    Our training is going okay with him as we’ve had to do it ourselves (limited puppy training classes in our village) and he is improving a lot but we do still struggle with his walking as he is a puller on the lead. Sometimes he is great but when we come across birds or squirrels he goes absolutely mad! Hopefully we can train him out of it.

    It’s all a learning curve for him and us and hopefully we’ll know more now, especially as we’re getting another springer spaniel pup within the next two weeks which will need training alongside him!

  4. My pup is a 13 months old now. We attended puppy training classes and he is pretty good with recall and basic commands. They are certainly expensive though!

  5. Rory is the absolute cutest!!! He looks so smiley! My Mum has found very similar things with her dog, particularly in terms of training not being just a five minute job! She’s 4 this year and she still needs retraining every now and again! Xx

  6. I’ve never had a dog, so I didn’t know just how much effort goes into training one – such an interesting read!

  7. Awww! Rory is so adorable and so photogenic too, he looks incredibly cute in every single photo you take! 🙂 It sounds like he is always keeping you on your toes… hehe, bless! This was really interesting to read as I’ve never had a dog and didn’t know there was so much to consider! Thanks for sharing Jenny, and I’m glad Rory enjoyed his new food! <3 xxx

    Bexa |

  8. What an adorable little dog! I haven’t had a dog since I was little, so every time I see a dog I’m taken back to those days!

  9. What a sweet little doggie!
    I have a half boxer half golden perinese dog, and we got her with her brother. It was a bit sad, but her brother was a bit of a bully so we gave him to a friend, where he grew into a giant.
    Since we wanted to feed our dog all natural foods, and not get wrapped up in vet visits, we did a lot of research into healthy feeding and home medicine. I still remember training her. 🙂
    It was sweet and sometimes I wish we had done more, such as taught her to like the leash, but she perfect for us now.

  10. Oh Rory is lovely! This was a great read and super helpful – my puppy comes home in 24 days, so now I’m trying to get everything ready! Im super nervous about letting him off the lead, as we never did that with my childhood dog but hopefully we can train him well! X

  11. Love this post. It made me chuckle as I thought about my Jack Russell Asher. We did the puppy meet up at our vets too. It was chaos mostly but useful handouts. Thankfully Asher has always wanted to learn & earn his food so training wasn’t too hard command wise tho it did take him longer to nail the house training! Those pouches look great may try them. Take care Zoe

  12. That’s one thing I’m really glad we did train our dog to do and that was to walk off her lead she’s so well behaved off her lead. What dog doesn’t love food 😂 Great post lovely x

    Charlotte 💗

  13. The photographs are so cute!! 😊. These are some great things to know about training your dog! We have never put any of our dogs into classes but I have seen some great benefits for the classes x

  14. Rory is such a cutie. We’re big on healthy dog food too! Bear is so stubborn and smart so he knows we’re telling him to sit or stay but he gets into moods sometimes where he doesn’t want to do what he’s told! I just have to keep asking him to do it because otherwise he’s gonna start trying to get dominant

  15. We have a golden retriever, and to be honest, bar the ‘toilet’ training, she’s been a dream! I grew up with a dog and my husband’s family are dog crackers, his Dad trains dogs and judges at events and we were well prepared and had boundaries installed from day one! She’s the most lovely, loving family dog, is great with the kids and loves being with us all. We’re very lucky to have her 💕.
    Your Rory is just the cutest!!! X

  16. He is adorable! I struggled with draining my other dogs as well and so glad things are different now for us.

    I’ve been working with my puppy everyday and I am so glad that I am taking the step to train him. He’s still annoying at times, but I know down the road he will be set!

  17. My story is much like yours with my youngest dog. I should have kept up his training. It’s not over when the class ends. It’s a continuous thing that we neglected. Chewy is unruly. He will lunge for bicycles, motorcycles, buses and sometimes kids. He barks & growls at dogs, until he sees they’re bigger than him, he then says yipe.

  18. God I can relate to so much of this! First of all Rory is absolutely gorgeous, that smile! He looks like a little angel but Bear’s deceiving like that sometimes when really he’s been quite testing at the moment haha. I wish we’d stuck with his training from the beginning. When he started to get the hang of things, we sort of let it slide but now we’re realising there’s certain things we should have persisted with regardless of whether it looked like he’d got the hang of it or not. We also can’t let Bear off lead either. I feel so bad about it sometimes when I see other dogs off lead but Bear has proven several times that he will just run and run and it’s only by people being in his way that’s he’s not completely got away. We’ve got a much longer lead now so he can still roam about and feel like he’s got his freedom at places like the beach but I’m not sure we’ll be trying off lead again any time soon. It’s all a learning curve though isn’t it? Like you I wish I’d done certain things sooner or persisted more with others but at least we know now for next time! xx

    Tiffany x

    1. Wow Rory and Bear sound like they’d get on like a house on fire haha! Rory is the same, we stopped as soon as he “kinda” looked like he was getting the hang of things when really he wasn’t xxx

  19. I definitely agree that dogs need a significant amount of training and it’s never ending. My trainer says we should practice training every day even when we think he no longer needs it. I wish I had done so because my dogs pull on the leash a lot and it could‘ve been prevented.

    1. Rory is just so stinking cute <3.

      I had a bullmastif cross sheperd and took her to puppy classes. Mocha was the best dog there for allowing you to play with her paws. She would just flop over and be like "do whatever". Lol

  20. He’s so cute! Love those photos. I think research is so important before getting a pet – I didn’t even realise dogs were supposed to eat vegetables until recently! I’ve got into the habit of intense research before pets because I own inverts, but it seems that less research is more common for mammals (myself included here – I never did as much research for hamsters and guinea pigs, and I should have done as pet store advice is generally all wrong).

  21. Firstly, he looks gorgeous here!! Such a good boy posing for his photos like that. Hugo’s training journey is somewhat similar, he’s trained, but he’s also quite stubborn so if I tell him to sit and he feels like doing it, no problem. If I tell him to sit and there’s a bird sat on next door’s roof to bark at, I can forget it. Thankfully he was born to be a good boy 90% of the time so he behaves well enough to not let the world know that he pays zero attention to me most of the time. He can go off the lead if we’re somewhere quiet but not if there are too many distractions around. He’s always been such a fussy eater though, and his little stomach rejects just about everything but he’s eaten James Wellbeloved since he was a pup! It’s good to know he’s eating good stuff, although he does still get a little Christmas dinner…x


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